Burt Wonderstone and Other Great Fictional Magicians in Pop Culture

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is about dueling magicians vying to become the biggest magician on the Las Vegas strip. Steve Carell, playing title character Burt Wonderstone, and Jim Carrey, playing antagonist Steve Grey, bring their comedic chops to the film along with Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, and Steve Buscemi.

The at times hilarious film failed to live up to box office expectations, opening to a dismal $10.3 domestically. When it comes to magician cred, though, Burt Wonderstone ranks as one of the top tricksters in recent screen fiction memory.

Along with Wonderstone, here are four of the best fictional magicians: 

1. Burt Wonderstone in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell)


Poking fun at magicians seems like an easy target. Guys like David Blaine make it even easier. But magicians are pretty impressive. The tricks they complete are mind-bending and defy logic. Tricks of the eye are extremely impressive. The main reason that Burt Wonderstone is one of the best fictional magicians of all time is not because Steve Carell delivers the deadpan obtuseness we've come to expect from Carell, but because the final trick in the movie didn't rely on camera manipulations, it was just a plain old (yet very cool) magic trick

2. GOB in Arrested Development (Will Arnett)


GOB made magic awesome. Him dancing to "The Final Countdown" as the prep for his tricks is pure comedic gold: 


Plus, he let us know that "tricks are something a whore does for money," and he performs illusions. He may not be the best at magic, but his intensity and belief in the form is unrivaled. 

3. Barney in How I Met Your Mother (Neil Patrick Harris)


Barney shows us that magic can be used to pick up girls. His playbook may tell us how to woo the ladies, but it should also include some magician tips as well.  

4. The Guys From The Illusionist and The Prestige


Back in 2006, both The Illusionist and The Prestige came out and no one could tell the difference between the two. One starred Edward Norton, the other starred Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. The main difference was that Edward Norton had a goatee. In the end, both movies had mind blowing tricks and were pretty entertaining. It's too bad, because they're mostly remembered for being those two magic movies that no one could tell the difference between.  

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Liam Boylan-Pett

Liam is a culture writing intern at PolicyMic. His work has appeared in "Running Times" and other running publications. He is also a professional middle-distance runner for the New Jersey-New York Track Club. After graduating from Columbia University with his bachelor's degree, he earned a Master's of Professional Studies in Journalism from Georgetown University. Originally from Bath, Mich, he spends his time watching TV, reading longform journalism, and thinking about who is going to be in the NCAA basketball tournament's Final Four.

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